Wipe out Seafile on server,

Hey there, our company has been using Seafile for around two years, while it is a working solution, we would never recommend it to anyone in a business environment. Unlike most paid solutions, the clients are always full of bugs, upgrading the server can sometimes knock out the Seafile on a linux server (We fully admit this could be linux ignorance on our part)

With that said as the username says, the program iswhatitis and we still use it.

We are about to move our Seafile server, which in essence means deleting the entire server and moving to a new server backend.

My thought is can we trust seafile to just delete the server and all its contents, move to the new backend, set the new server up, then connect the local clients and let them recurse back to the server, or will seafile pull some stunt like grabbing the empty directories from the new server and deleting all the local content.

We always back up the local repositories in case something like this would occur.

Please do not mistake my tart comments for not loving this program, I believe if the developers stabilized the program it might someday be production ready, but I have personally watched a department update an entire folder and then 6 hours later, the client still had not updated the server. The way to do this is to shutdown the client completely, then reload and force a resync, this may not sound like an issue, but in those 6 hours another department was waiting for the data to sync so they could use it, and being a “tested” solution we did not babysit it, so no one knew until over 8 hours later that Seafile had not synced a thing, now we babysit every transfer (even though we should not have to!)

Hopefully someone can give me a suggestion on the behavior of the server if we delete the server copy and recurse back to the new one with the local content.

Good to know support is as vibrant as it was two years ago!

Hi itiswhatitis2020,

welcome to the Seafile Community Forum! (Why do you have a new account if you know so much about Community life? You seem to be greatly contributing to a vibrant community experience.)

To begin with, some general words about Seafile: Seafile has some sort of a reputation for easy, no drama updates. If you’ve had problems in the past, too bad. I invite you to consult the ownCloud/Nextcloud forum and ask them for their experience. (Maybe you should shed your animosity against Linux.)

Similarily, I don’t understand you criticism of the sync client. I’ve been using it for multiple years and it has never let me down. If the sync client does not sync, it may be a problem with your setup. Do you try to sync from/to a network share? What is the file system of your drive? (Maybe you should also familiarize yourself with the specs and requirements of Seafile. If you use a piece of software within specs, it keeps you from surprises.)

Following this wordy introduction, as for the core of your message:

If you connect a client to a brand new server - on a clean slate - , there are no libraries on the server. What empty directories should Seafile grab? This said: You aren’t exactly specific on your intentions. At first, you talk about a new backend. (I hear “storage”). Then you keep talking of a new server. (I hear “oh, not only storage but also Seafile server”). If I understand you correctly, you don’t want to migrate the data on the server. Why not? The migration process is described in detail in the Seafile Manual (https://download.seafile.com/published/seafile-manual/maintain/backup_recovery.md) Why sync all data afresh? If one in a smart way, your clients don’t even notice tha the backend/server got swapped and you don’t have to transfer a single file. (There are support partners that can help you do it.)


We actually would never trust seafile to migrate to a new server.

I am sorry for the confusion, but let me clarify for you if it was not already clear

  1. we are deleting seafile from the original backend (your correct that is a storage server)

  2. we are moving to a new backend (Again a new storage server with an entirely different company)

  3. The local directories on all clients (that would be anyone who has a library in our network) and those local drives, still hold copies of the data on the main server

Cannot we just resync those libraries to the new seafile server once it is installed properly.

You are right , we do hold high animosity for seafile, it has cost us a lot of money and downtime in the past.

If somehow it magically improved and we are not aware of it then , yes that is on us.

The open source community seems incessantly obsessed with UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE, and as a business we do not have time to update every second of the day.

Last I looked we were on Server Version: 6.2.5 so yes we are most likely out of date

Anyway, it is fastest if we just delete the server version, and send the local copies back to the new server, I asked specifically if that would be a danger and if seafile might try to “reverse recurse” something.

I am sorry that Seafile has cost you a lot of money and downtime. Believe me, I know how frustrating this can be.

But, and excuse my frankness, this is not on Seafile. This is on you. I personally had my first encounter with Seafile when Seafile was in version 4. Even then, we choose Seafile because it was more stable than the available alternatives. With every major release, Seafile has become more robust. Discouraging others from using Seafile because it cannot be operated in a stable way says more about the person than the software. I am not saying that Seafile is perfect. Seafile has flaws, plenty of flaws. (If you want to see my long list of things to fix, I will happily share that with you.) But a lack of stability is definitely not one of them.

I would not go about the server migration as you intend to do, but this is doable:

  • Make sure that all the data is stored on local volumes
  • Shut down the old Seafile server (no need to immediately wipe the server)
  • Bring the new Seafile server online
  • Provide the sync clients with the new server credentials
  • Establish syncs between the local folders and the server (simply by dragging and dropping the folders onto the sync client)
  • Wait for all the data to be synced to the server

I don’t know how much data we are talking about. Assuming we are talking TBs of data and a remote storage server, the upload will take looooong, even with a fibre uplink. (This is no deficit of Seafile.)

Additionally, you will lose all sharing relationships and sharing info. Here but one example: You loose the info that sharing link xyz existed or that library A from user B was shared read-only with user C. You are willing to pay this price, well, then go ahead.

This is what I would do:

  • Make sure that all clients are connected to the server via a URL (i.e., subdomain.yourcompanydomain.com)
  • Setup the new Seafile server
  • Shutdown the old Seafile server
  • Migrate the data from old server to the new one (see the link above)
  • Change DNS records such that subdomain.yourcompanydomain.com points to the new server
  • Start Seafile server

The clients will connect with the new server, check for file changes, find nothing and go back to sleep. In other words: They don’t even realize the server got replaced.

If you don’t have enough confidence in this (well documented, tested) procedure to work, then Seafile probably not your software.

If you need more support, let me know. You can also send me a personal message. I won’t provide more support than this in the forum.

Last note: Your assessment of the community is as unfair as it is generalizing. It is bad karma to scold the community - the very community you asked for help in the first place.

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well said, I hearyou on all accounts, I am sure you have your “list” just as well as I do and many others! I will PM you about the second option, , your right its not all on the community and Seafile does have its good points, the only thing as much as I hate to argue about is that Seafile is better then the alternatives. If your referring to the “open source” alternatives, yes I do agree. If your referring to paid solutions like Dbox, 1 Drv and such, while I hate those companies and the way they handle privacy, They are very stable corporate solutions that are used by probably over a million users daily.

Again that is not on the community, and I am intrigued to read up on your link, but realize that we have no sharing in our server, so if you mean the libraries assignment would be lost, that is perhaps the only downside to our Idea.

oh btw the ballpark is around 200 TB or so, again that is an estimate

Hello again,

with 200TB of data, your approach is not feasible. Don’t get me wrong: I realize you said 200TB was an estimate. But I would probably say the same if you only had 100TB.

Why is that? Just do the maths! To begin with, let’s assume you have a really good fibre uplink. Let’s take an aggressiv: 5GB/s. The upload - at full theoretical speed - takes 88hours. You can extrapolate the upload time in case of a weaker uplink.

One way or another: You need to be smart about this migration. My suggested approach will also have its difficulties. The problem is simply the amount of data to move. Even transfering from one to datacenter to other will take a lot of time. So make a plan how to go about this:

  • What are ways the reduce the amount of data?
  • How do you manage downtime?


Yeah I looked over that link, I am sure to screw that up lol, I am versed in linux, but I loose it when we get into heavy commands, Ill give it a shot though. Plus I am pretty sure the current host we have malforms all the directories where Seafile is normally supposed to be, probably one reason in place upgrades always failed. They are no help with any of this, so If you do not mind handholding I promise to give it my best effort to have a successful migration

In regards to data size and downtime

We have removed all but 200 gb of data from Seafile, lots of it was home videos and phone/tablet backups of personal data from our contractors, they were not authorized to use our server for that, so that is gone now

Downtime will not really affect us much, as we only use the Seafile as a reference server, as long as the local copies can still be accessed, moving the mainframe copies should not cause to many issue!

Hello again!
Your migration was successful?


apologies for not writing, we have not even started yet. I will be in touch very soon!